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WakeMed pitches mental health expansion in bid for Rex

Posted May 19, 2011

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— WakeMed has sweetened its bid for rival Rex Healthcare by offering to spend $50 million on mental health facilities if the deal goes through.

Chief Executive Dr. Bill Atkinson said in a letter sent Wednesday to Gov. Beverly Perdue and House and Senate leaders that WakeMed could add 40 to 60 beds for mental health treatment in Wake County if it were combined with Rex.

"There is a mental health crisis in Wake County, and there promises to be an even more urgent need if Dorothea Dix Hospital closes this year as scheduled," Atkinson said in the letter. "WakeMed has tried to work together with the county and other hospital systems to address this community issue. Unfortunately, no viable mental health care solution has been proposed to date, and given WakeMed’s current indigent care burden, we are not in a position to shoulder mental health care alone.”

Last week, WakeMed offered to buy Rex for $750 million, saying it would improve access and lower costs by eliminating duplication of services. Rex officials have called the bid a hostile takeover.

The offer is under consideration by the board of UNC Health Care, which has operated Rex Hospital and its affiliated operations since 2000. The board, however, passed a resolution Monday stating that a sale wouldn't be in the best interests of UNC, Wake County residents or the state.

Atkinson also said in his letter that WakeMed is one of North Carolina's top providers of care to low-income and uninsured patients and charged that Rex doesn't provide a fair share of charity care.

"WakeMed is ... increasingly concerned that a government-subsidized, unlevel competitive landscape will cripple WakeMed’s ability to deliver on its mission of caring for all, regardless of the ability to pay," he said.

WakeMed has facilities in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh, Wendell, Zebulon and Clayton, while Rex provides medical services in Apex, Cary, Garner, Knightdale and Raleigh.


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  • this is fdup May 20, 2011

    Wake Med does not have to foot the bill for the uninsured or charity cases. The people who work for a living have health care do when pay outragous bills. How much they bill is a crime.Go have a baby there or a day surgery youll see they are crooks

  • rroadrunner99 May 20, 2011

    The CEO of Wake Med and it's Board of Director's want's to make Wake Med the monopoly of health care in the area around wake County.Then they will have total control over pricing of health care everyone get's. This Mental Health deal is just a ploy to try to get their way for now. Why not let REX Health care buy Wake Med?

  • crazeela8 May 20, 2011

    This is just sickening....Bill Atkinson seems to have no shame...where were you when mental health crisis began? To link this in with your offer to buy Rex is despicable!
    This guy has got to go. I like "New Hanover Nightmare". Up here we should call him "Wake Med Mistake".

  • dhtfield May 20, 2011

    This is all about one man's ego and his failures as our CEO. This guy is a wreck looking for a place to happen. Don't buy REX, dump "Dr. Bill" The New Hanover nightmare.

  • caa2cat1601 May 20, 2011

    To avoid duplication of services??? Really????

    When you're the only facility in the area that does heart surgery (under WakeMed's proposal) it's called a monopoly. How is that good for Wake county? Someone needs to explain this to me.

  • Wake1 May 20, 2011

    I also had heard that he has political motivations & wants to be governor. Remember folks, you heard it here first!!!

  • aturner2006 May 20, 2011

    Why should the Wake County taxpayer shoulder any burden for a mistake our State officials made when they decided to close Dorthea Dix. Who really had the right to change the purpose of that property anyway? The property was left so those with mental illness would have a place to go. Where are these patients now? In the streets and homeless. What was the opinion at Wake Med when the destruction of that mental illness facility was occurring. Now they want to bring up the topic while trying to takeover a hospital that has long had a good name in this county. I have never wanted anything to do with Wake Med and do not want to have anything to do with them now!

  • justwonderin May 20, 2011

    Why not give the non-clinical the pay increases they have been denied!! Clean up your own house before you start messing up others.

  • LuvMyLife May 20, 2011

    "given WakeMed’s current indigent care burden, we are not in a position to shoulder mental health care alone.”

    Yet you are going to spend $750 million to buy a hospital so as not to duplicate services? To accomplish this task, wouldn't you need to by ALL hospitals? For $750 million, maybe you could update Dorthea Dix so the state wouldn't need to and keep it running.

  • needmarc May 20, 2011

    Maybe Dr. Atkinson should get some on the job training as an "Under Cover Boss" for 3 months, working every job in the hospital. Afterwards, maybe he'd have a different outlook. It that doesn't work, I suggest water boarding. What part does he not understand, LEAVE REX HOSPITAL ALONE! Rex has been in business since 1894 and they must have done something right in all those years. One failure was in 1961 when it didn't use it's political influence to stop Wake County Hospital being built. The 2 hospitals had been good neighbors until Dr. Bill's hostile takeover. I say, water board him and send him back to New Hanover County, where he ran that hospital into ground. Wake County does not need Dr. Atkinson as CEO. Maybe appoint him to ABC Board in New Hanover County. Move, get on out of here. For those politicos that support a Wake Med takeover, we the people will take you all out in the next election cycle. Stand up and have the guts to do the right thing! REX IS NOT FOR SALE!